Manny Ramirez will try to make it back to the major leagues after signing a minor-league deal with the Texas Rangers.
The last we heard of Manny, he was in Taiwan, doing this:
Manny Ramirez hit his first home run in Taiwan, and the announcer promptly lost his mind. http://t.co/SzdF325atX— SB Nation (@sbnation) April 4, 2013
The 41-year-old, whose 555 home runs rank 14th on MLB's all-time list, became a bit of a cult icon in Taiwan. But Ramirez left his Taiwanese team, the EDA Rhinos, before his three-month contract expired, and did so with the intention of returning to the major leagues.
Now, he'll have his chance. Ramirez hasn't played in MLB since 2011, when he had one hit in 17 plate appearances for the Tampa Bay Rays before his "retirement," shortly followed by the news of a 100-game suspension after a PED test showed positive results. He signed a minor-league deal with the Oakland A's organization last season, and after sitting out for 50 games, hit .302 for Triple-A Sacramento but struck out 17 times while reaching base 24 times in 69 plate appearances. He requested his release after just 17 games.
It appears Ramirez is more serious about his desire to make things work this time: he's agreed to cut his famous locks and will follow all Rangers minor league rules.
Ramirez obviously isn't expected to be the guy who hit 40 home runs, year-in, year-out with an OPS better than 1.000. Sure, he tore it up in Taiwan, hitting .352 with eight home runs in 49 games, but that's a long way from the show, and he hasn't shown the skill or committal to play in the big leagues anytime recently. But he's one of the greats, if you ignore two positive steroid tests, with 12 All-Star appearances to his name. He'd likely be playing designated hitter at this point in his career, where he'd have to prove he's an improvement on Lance Berkman, currently hitting .263 with six homers.